Renowned Philadelphia attorneys Kevin Mincey and Riley H. Ross III are representing a 28-year-old home health care aide and her 2-year-old son who were injured early Tuesday morning when police pulled them — and her 16-year-old nephew — from a SUV on the 5200 block of Chestnut Street.
The incident, which involved more than 15 police officers, was captured on video and has gone viral on social media.
According to Mincey and Ross, Rickia Young, who lives near Temple University, was in the process of driving home after picking up her nephew when the incident occurred. A few hours earlier, police shot and killed a knife-wielding man, Walter Wallace Jr., who was in mental crisis at 61st and Locust streets.
That incident, caught on video, went viral and was the catalyst behind civil unrest as hundreds of people committed acts of vandalism and looting along the 52nd Street business district and throughout the city.
“She didn’t do anything wrong,” Mincey said. “She was driving down the street when she approached an area that was blocked by police. “As she tried to turn around, the car was swarmed by several officers. They broke the windows out of the vehicle, dragged her and her nephew out of the SUV, and began beating them with batons and kicking them. The child was still in his car seat.”
The attorneys said Young, who was bleeding from her injuries, was handcuffed and taken by a paddy wagon to police headquarters at 7th and Race streets.
“There was another woman in the paddy wagon with her,” Mincey said. “She had a cellphone and allowed [Young] to use it. She called her mother who went to find find the child. Her mother was told by police the child was at 15th [Street] and JFK [Boulevard].”
Mincey said the grandmother retrieved the child in Center City sitting in a car seat with pieces of broken glass.
He said Young was later taken to Jefferson Hospital, treated for her wounds, and taken back to police headquarters where she was placed in a holding cell. She was released hours later with no charges filed against her.
“She doesn’t know what time they released her,” Mincey said. “She just knows that the sun was up which would’ve been around 7 o’clock [a.m.].”
Mincey and Ross said police don’t know where the vehicle is. Also missing is Young’s purse, which contained her identification. The baby’s hearing aids were also inside the SUV.
The attorneys are also livid about a National Fraternal Order of Police post on Facebook and Twitter. In the post, a Philadelphia police officer is holding the child with a caption: “This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness. The only thing this Philadelphia police officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child.”
“That simply was not the case,” Ross said. “Her child was not lost.”
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Friday that one officer seen in the video “using the strikes against the car” has been placed on restricted duty pending the outcome of an investigation.
“I still don’t know all of the details … what I saw, it was quite concerning,” Outlaw said. “But I’m very careful about what I say, because I do not know all of the circumstances around it.”
The lawyers are conducting an investigation into the incident.
“I posted on my Twitter account that the National FOP post was a lie,” Ross said. “Some of the comments I’ve received have been negative but I’ve received a lot of positive comments.
“This police department needs drastic reform. There’s no reason why our client should’ve been the victim here. She’s a victim, her child is a victim, her nephew is a victim. It’s terribly uncalled for and the police need to own up and answer for that.”
Mincey wants the public to know what has happened.
“I want them to know the truth,” he said. “I don’t want them to think that Rickia is a bad mother, that she is some type of criminal or looter. I want them to know she’s not only a loving aunt but a caring mom and an aunt who drove out to West Philly to pick up her teenage nephew at 1 o’clock in the morning because she knew it wasn’t safe for him to make it home on his own. She was doing something that any of us who are parents, uncles or aunts would do for somebody in their family.”